For a long time, Beyerdynamic has made superb headphones for studio pros and the like, focusing on a precise sound that engineers could depend on to make mixes.
But as of late, they have also undergone a rebrand of sorts, making stylish lifestyle-oriented gear for the masses. Of course, the acclaimed Beyerdynamic sound is still a major selling point.
I had a chance to check out their current headphone lineup at RMAF 2019 back in October, and one of the products that caught my eye was the $399 Lagoon ANC Traveller Bluetooth Headphone. (The other was the Amiron Wireless Copper, our 2019 Product Of The Year)
I dug the sophisticated design, and I was quite intrigued by the prospect of a Noise Cancelling headphone with Beyerdynamic tuning. Because of that, I requested a pair for review, and I was fortunate to get a pair.
Disclaimer: The review sample was sent to me as a loaner in exchange for an honest review, and that is what follows.
Build And Features:
The Lagoon ANC comes in two colorways, a Black/Black version called the Lagoon ANC Traveller, and a Grey with Brown earpad variant called the Lagoon ANC Explorer. From what I can see, the only difference is the color, with the Black giving me an executive Jetsetter vibe, and the Brown version giving me a more rugged vibe.
I received the Traveller version, and the first thing I noticed was how small it was when folded up in its case. The hard case is thin and compact, especially for a one that holds a full size over the ear headphone. That can be attributed to the small size of the Lagoon ANC and the ability of both arms to fold into the upper portion of the headband.
Speaking of the headband, it’s made of hard semi-gloss plastic with a memory foam cushion on the underside. The cushion does a decent job of counteracting the weight of the headphones where they rest on your head, but I did feel a small bit of pressure at the very top, which was distracting at times. I have a huge head, though, so YMMV.
The clamp of the headphones was light, and the memory foam earpads (similar to the headband cushion) were quite comfortable as they sat around the ears. The cups seemed a little small for my huge ears, but there weren’t any pain points on the inside.
I can deal with the small cups since it keeps the overall size of the headphones down. That leaves more room in the bag for other stuff.
Like I said before, the Lagoon is made almost entirely of plastic. But it’s a good quality hard plastic. There wasn’t any creakiness or flexing when I used them. The sliders are made of metal, however, which inspires a certain level of confidence in their durability.
Operation control is handled via a combination of touchpad swipes and switches on the right earcup. The touchpad on the outside of the cup allows control of volume, music playback, phone call handling, and interaction with virtual assistants like Siri or Google Assistant.
The two switches on the bottom of the right earcup control Power, Bluetooth pairing, and Active Noise Cancelling, of which there are two levels to choose from (Moderate and Strong).
The switches are nice and big, plus easy to reach. Once you memorize which one does what, then you can easily use them with the headphones on. The touchpad is very responsive, but not too swipes.
The complement of swipes needed to complete functions is easy to learn, but like any touch system, it takes practice to get it right. For example, it took me a while to get the volume down swipe. At first, I found myself turning the music off more often than not.
You also have to be careful not to tap the side while adjusting the headphones, because you can stop the music. I still prefer buttons, but this is one of the better touch setups.
Once you put the headphones on and power them up, you get an announcement telling you the battery level, ANC status/level, and Bluetooth pairing status. It also confirms the Bluetooth codec in use, be it AAC or aptX, a feature I wish more headphones had.
Active Noise Cancelling on the Lagoon ANC is superb. Like I said before, there are two levels. Level one is the “moderate” setting for around the house, the office, etc. and the Level two “strong” setting is intended for airplanes, trains, and the like.
Both are effective, but I’m not sure why you need the first level. I would rather have a combination of the strongest ANC with some type of “surrounding awareness” mode like my Bowers & Wilkins PX and some Sony models have.
A setting like that would allow you to bring in outside sounds so you can quickly hear what’s going on around you. I always use it on my PX when I need to catch a quick announcement on the train or plane.
That being said, the Lagoon has some of the best noise-canceling I have heard so far. It can easily cut out plane noise and a good amount of speech on the Level 2 setting.
When it comes to noise-canceling ability, I will put it right up there with the Bose and Sony headphones. However, the Beyerdynamic headphones have slightly more hiss with ANC turned on.
Beyerdynamic also includes a couple of novel features on the Lagoon ANC called MOSAYC sound personalization and the Light Guide system.
MOSAYC is a system I talked about when I reviewed the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper. It uses an app to set up a personalized EQ on the Lagoon based on your age and your hearing.
After setting up my sound profile in the app and activating it on the Lagoon, I was surprised at how much of a difference it made with detail and depth. I recommend using it if you buy these.
The Light Guide system is another cool feature where the inside of the earcups lights up to notify you of system status. For example, Red, Yellow, and Green lights will signify battery level, and Orange signifies an incoming call.
I’ve never seen anything like this on a pair of headphones, and while I don’t know how useful it will be on the daily, it sure looks cool.
As I’ve come to expect from Beyerdynamic, the Lagoon ANC sound is pretty balanced with a slight accent on the low end to keep things exciting. The highs are a tad bit rolled off at the very top, which can make things sound dull at times, but the mids are rich and detailed, which opens the sound up a little bit. The Bass is very deep and articulate.
As far as soundstage and imaging are concerned, there is not much going on there. The sound pretty much seems to stay within the cups. However, there is some imaging. When I listened to “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir, I could hear the choir director calling out directly in the center of the presentation, and the choir surrounding him.
That being said, the focus or width of the sound couldn’t match bonafide Hi-Fi headphones like their Amiron Wireless Copper. I consider the Lagoon to have a very high-level consumer sound, which has enough clarity and excitement to please audiophiles on the move, but not for critical listening.
What we dig:
The Lagoon ANC is comfortable to wear, has decent sound quality, and the touchpad controls are friendly to use. I also like that they have aptX Low Latency for watching videos with properly synced sound and wired operation when the battery dies. ANC is powerful too.
What to look out for:
The touchpad on the side of the earcup can be tricky to use at first; it takes some practice to get things right. You also have to be careful of the touchpad when adjusting the headphones on your head because you may end up stopping the music by accident.
If you’re looking for a well built and comfortable wireless headphone with excellent noise-canceling, then the Lagoon ANC is a good option in a crowded field. They also have an above-average sound for a Bluetooth headphone, and frequent fliers will welcome their compact size since they won’t take up a ton of room in their bag. (They are especially a good deal for the current price of $288 on Amazon)